A SIGNIFICANT piece of naval history has been launched at an exhibition at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at HMAS Albatross.
The Navy in Black and White celebrates the works of the late John ‘Prof’ Edward and Roy ‘Bluey’ Richards.
Both men were based at HMAS Albatross during their naval careers and were keen sketchers and cartoonists.
Prof became known for his cartoons in the naval magazine Slipstream and his skills as the only signwriter in the then fledgling Fleet Air Arm.
Director of the Naval Heritage Collection Captain David Michael launched the exhibition on Wednesday, saying it was important to recognise people who have left a real legacy to the navy.
“Both John and Roy are icons of the Fleet Air Arm,” he said.
“When you think about how we communicate and record navy folklore, when people get together socially or otherwise, it doesn’t take long to start talking about old shipmates, colleagues, classmates, rogues and heroes and that’s what makes the navy characters, the individuals who make up that history of navy.
“Prof and Roy are two of these unassuming guys who worked through their careers but left a legacy for us.
“Their legacy of fantastic cartoons is now etched in navy history and in particular the Fleet Air Arm history.
“We were lucky that Greg Wise was in possession of Roy’s work when he left the navy in 1976 and he handed it on to the Fleet Air Arm Museum, while Prof’s work has been widely seen.”
Prof’s widow, Deirdre Edward, along with two of their children, Rebecca and Peter, were at the launch.
“It is a wonderful display of both their work,” Mrs Edward said.
“I remember a lot of these cartoons being produced and know the stories behind the stories.
“He was always a tongue-in-cheek man.
“I’m proud to see John’s work on display.
“Peter is also a keen drawer and photographer and works with remote areas of the Northern Territory, trying to get kids to go to school and through that he has done huge cartoons and artworks in classrooms.”
Peter said he was overwhelmed to see his father’s work on display.
“A lot of these were drawn before I was born, I grew up with Dad drawing and didn’t really understand the significance of it all until later in life,” he said.
Museum manager Terry Hetherington said the exhibition could only have come about with the backing of some great supporters.
“We must thank the NSW Fleet Air Arm Association, the Wilson Family and Australian Defence Credit Union who have all backed the project,” he said.
“Curator Ailsa Chittick has worked throughout the last year to ensure the exhibition went ahead and it looks fantastic.”
The exhibition will be on display at the museum for six months and then it is hoped to have it on display at other galleries throughout the Shoalhaven and further afield.